Saturday, September 29, 2012

The First Five Days

Day 0 (Sunday, September 23):
I was scheduled to be induced to have our daughter on Sunday, September 23rd at 6 am.  Some other medical complications during my pregnancy necessitated our need to be induced at 38 weeks.  This is what I looked like checking into the hospital.   
I got all dressed and ready to go - and like good hospital swiftness it took more than an hour before we really got anything started.  If only that was the longest part of our adventure that would have been a wonderful story.  
Unfortunately this is me in labor, having contraction 2-3 minutes apart, after 12 hours.  I might still look happy for the camera - but I was anything but still happy.  My blood pressure was crashing, I was puking and feeling faint, and running a fever.  AWESOME!
  
NICU Day 1 (Monday, September 24):
So, 19 hours after we were admitted to the hospital here we are dressed for a C-section because the babies heart rate, on top of all of my complications, was now at too high a rate and there were concerns about her running the risk of fever.   If fever had been her only problem that would have been wonderful but nothing was seeming to go right.  Yes - I am just uptight enough about photography/proper documentation that I put down my barf bag long enough to smile for a picture right before my C-section and make sure that I documented Oliver's garb. 
At 1:47 am this beautiful tiny child was yanked out of my body.  Oliver watched the whole thing and they told me I didn't want to watch - but actually I did.  I watched as best a could from a reflection in the ceiling.

She came out not really screaming - but crying.  Oliver watched as the nurses sucked several vials of fluid from her lungs and then he was able to hold her and weigh her and bring her over to me so I could see her too. She weighed 7 pounds .02 ounces and was 20 inches long. 
She was tired after her long arrival into the world.  Here is our first partial-family picture right after she was born. 
We went then went to our postpartum room and she nursed for about 20 minutes and then the nurse came in and said that she needed to go to the nursery for her shots and eye goop.  Oliver accompanied her to the nursery and the staff were a little concerned that she was grunting.  They asked Oliver if they could keep her under observation for awhile and he admitted (now at 3:45 am) that we had been up almost 24 hours and would like to try to get a few minutes rest.  He asked that we please be notified if anything changed or if they noticed anything and then came back to our room.  He returned to the nursery to take a photo of our delivery nurse and expressed his same feelings that we please be notified if anything changed - our room was literally directly across the hall from the well-baby nursery.  They said they would bring her to our room at 6 am.  After I was finished getting checked out - Oliver and I went to sleep for two short hours.

At 6 am, the NICU charge nurse came into our room.  She informed us that our daughter had been moved to the NICU, started on oxygen, had a chest x-ray, had an IV started, and had blood drawn to run some labs.  Pissed does not even begin to explain our surprise and frustration about the lack of communication.   By all means - please do whatever is necessary to take care of her life - but please keep us in the loop!  Oh, and by the way, the nurse explained, the NICU is closed from 6-7 and we could get more information at that time.

We spent the next hour fuming and talking to several higher ups on our floor and then I decided to try to get up and go with Oliver to the NICU at 7.  Having just had a c-section 5 hours earlier made for a near impossible trip for me to accompany his to the NICU and so Oliver went off to get more information and I lay in bed wondering what was happening.  Just what every barely-not pregnant, emotional mom wants to do all by herself at the hospital.  After several hours and consultations later it was shown that her I/T test resulted in a result of .86 (.2 being normal) and her chest x-rays showed she had pneumonia.  She was having trouble breathing and so she was being supplemented by 30% oxygen and had an IV so that she could start a 7 day course of antibiotics to treat her pneumonia.

This is Oliver at 3 pm the day she was born getting to hold her for the first time after all the drama of the  morning.  We could only hold her for moments at a time because she needed to be in her heat controlled home because she wasn't maintaining her body temperature.
This is Addison at 4:30 pm that same day getting to meet her for the first time through the doors of the NICU.  The nursing staff was wonderful and accommodating and rounded up all her equipment so that she could be wheeled down the hall for a few minutes of sister time (and the first time for mom to hold her).  She could only stay for a minute, not that Addison has an attention span that's any longer, because she had to get back to her temperature controlled home.  
Oliver and our NICU nurse gave her the first bath at 4:50 pm while I sat in a wheelchair and watched.  It was a little different than Addison's first bath and a little complicated around all her cords - but we made do.  
Just after her bath.
My mom had brought Addison to the hospital and so when Oliver was done bathing her - my mom came in for a few minutes to at least get to look at her and meet her for the first time.
By 6 pm we were all back in my hospital room and Addison got to open her present from her sister.  She also had brought her sister a present - and she opened that too!  
 
With all the picture taking going on in our family - Addison was ecstatic that her sister bought her a camera - and like her shirt says - Addison is the best sister ever!
Just before 8 pm Oliver's mom came up to the hospital and by then Baby Hansen could come out of the heat environment for a few moments and so Grandma was the first to get to hold her (after mom and dad).   There is little in life that can't be fixed by holding a new born baby. 
NICU Day 2 (Tuesday, September 25):
Our pediatrician rounded in the morning and more tests had been run showing that her body was reacting well to the antibiotics and her chest x-ray showed that her pneumonia was starting to clear.  Similarly, her I/T test ratio was not .41 so she was also making progress fighting her infection.  She wasn't showing any signs of jaundice and her test results indicated that she was doing fine.  The day seemed to be looking fairly positive - too bad we had no idea that the whole world can change after 15 minutes in the NICU.

We went about our morning coming in to nurse her and we weren't really able to hold her except for 30 minutes during feedings so that she could be in her warm bed because she still wasn't holding her own body temperature.  The nurses started weening her from her oxygen and she was now down to 25% oxygen (21% is room air).  The only problem the NICU was having was keeping an IV site.  She was going through them fairly quickly (they really only last 12-24 hours in a newborn) and hers were only lasting 6-8.  Every time they had to stick her I excused myself because it's horrible to watch.  Luckily, Oliver could be with her and talk to her and comfort her.

My sister came up in the morning and was able to come into the NICU to meet her while I fed her, but not yet able to hold her (neither of us got a picture!).  Aunt Holly was able to stand next to her bed and put pressure on her to help calm her down and talk to her which was hugely helpful because I wasn't yet able to stand.  It's pretty depressing to have such a small helpless child and feel, as the mom, that you are just as helpless.  Thank goodness we have so much family that love and support us and have been making this experience a million times easier!

Oliver went home around lunchtime so he could spend some time with Addison and then he decided to stay and get some work done and nap as well.  My mom could come up to the hospital to be with me and was able to hold Baby Hansen at 2 pm for the first time and feed her for part of her feeding.
I finally got a picture of me and her together before we put her back to get her rest and strength and work on healing.  
The day continued to be looking fairly positive - with a continued rotation of IVs - but our family kept coming to welcome her into the world and meet her for the first time.  Aunt Tasha and Uncle Nick came about 8 pm and by then we had a longer window of holding that was available so they both got a chance to snuggle her for just a second.  

NICU Day 3 (Wednesday, September 26):
I went to the NICU about 4 am to do a feeding and just bawl and hold her.  When I went in she was sleeping well and had been eating well.  They had needed to move her IV in the night and it was now in her leg/foot but it was holding up fairly well.  Other than my being emotional - things were looking fine.  We consulted with the pediatrician and she said that her labs looked great her I/T ratio was down to .02 and her oxygen was down to 21%.  She was now being supplemented by room air qulity but just a higher flow.  The goals for the day were to wean her from oxygen and start decreasing her IV fluids.  She continued to nurse well and we were feeling pretty good about everything.

We briefly discussed putting in a pic line - but because she had a good working IV we decided that we would revisit it in the future if needed.   Baby Hansen got to wear an outfit for the first time that day and so here is dad dressing her for the first time. 
Our favorite little visitor came up to see us and we had lunch together (or left over breakfast).   Our friend Meghann came up to see us and brought Kneaders for breakfast and then the nutrition people started calling because I hadn't ordered yet - so I ordered something that Addison would eat for lunch instead.  She loved eating in the bed and thought it was such a treat!
She also worked with daddy while she was here and kept saying "I show you something". 
Between 2 - 6 pm Oliver and I stayed in the NICU to have a family council with Baby Hansen - because the name Baby Hansen just wasn't cutting it for mom anymore!

We had to observe her and get a feel for her personality and then she needed to have a PPI with dad to really discuss it.  

In true Oliver fashion - no decision was made - and she was exclaiming - "Oh dad".  He promised that we would make a decision the next day.  
We then went back to our room and had a celebratory dinner provided by the hospital (the food was gross but the sentiment was nice).  After dinner, Mary came to see us as we spent our night holding Baby Hansen and trying to just be with her.  She held her IV for more than 12 hours. 
NICU Day 4 (Thursday, September 27:
Happy 5 Year Anniversary!  We went to the NICU right after it re-opened at 7 am (it's closed from 6-7 for shift change).  When I went to see her at 4 am she had a new IV line in her head that looked horrible - but they thought it had went in very well and were confident that it would hold.  They gave her antibiotics at 7 and the IV failed - so they moved it down into her arm and by 7:30 that IV had failed as well.  By this point - Oliver had went home about 6 in the morning so he could be home when Addison woke up - shower and have breakfast and spend some time with her.  The pediatricians were rounding about 8 and we were feeling confident from the day before and the progress she had made.  Through the night they were completely able to wean her IV fluids and she was off oxygen.

The pediatrician came to talk to me and suggested that it was time for a PIC line.  She had been through 8 IV sites in the past 3 days and she still had at least 4 more days in the NICU.  He felt they were turning her into a pin cushion and that it would be best to poke her only one more time to insert the PIC line than to keep moving her IV.  The risks of putting in a PIC line no longer out-weighed the risk of putting in multiple IVs.  After much heart-ache and feeling a little alone, not having Oliver there to help me make the decision, I signed a consent form to have the PIC line placed.  This action made it so we were transferred into the neonatologists care instead of the care of our pediatrician.

Since nothing with Baby Hansen had been easy - the PIC line could be no exception.  While poking her was the worst part - getting the line placed in just the right spot proved to be very difficult.  It took four tries and four x-rays before they were satisfied with the placement.  It went not far enough, kinked over on itself, looped under her armpit, and then finally settled where it belonged.  This process took almost 3 hours and was stressful for the mom.  She slept through most of the process and only fussed during the initial insertion of the IV.

With the successful placement of the PIC line - our day resumed to "normal" for the NICU.  Feeding, holding, sleeping, etc.  Papa was able to come up at 4 in the afternoon and hold her for a little while for the first time.
Nana and Addison also visited again which allowed for a quick 5 minute snuggle.  
My anniversary gift to Oliver was to get out of bed and actually get dressed and do my hair (even if it was only a robe).  

His gift to me was to finally settle on a name.  There was a small snafu with the name choosing and it needed to be tabled for one more night.  
More stories and updates will be coming tomorrow of the next day - but thanks for reading our 5 day journey of labor, delivery, and the NICU.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

Oh my word - what a nightmare! I am so sorry that you have had to go through this. I'm glad that she is doing better, although I am dying to know her name! Big hugs and welcome to the world, Baby Hansen!